I’ve been following news about the Yaesu FT-818: the next iteration of the venerable Yaesu FT-817ND QRP general coverage transceiver.
The FT-817 series has been on the market for nearly two decades. I remember purchasing one of the first production models when I lived in the UK in 2001.
It was a revolutionary radio at the time.
It was exceptionally suited for portable use, sporting an internal battery pack, on-board keyer, had all mode/all band capability and antenna ports on the front faceplate and rear. It was the most compact full-featured transceiver on the market. All this for about $670 US.
In 2004, Yaesu made upgrades and launched the model FT-817(N)D. In no small way, I’m sure this little radio has been a cash cow for Yaesu. It’s had an exceptionally long market run and has been the only QRP transceiver in the Yaesu product line for decades.
Recently, Yaesu released specifications and retail pricing of the FT-818. But before we go any further…
Don’t believe the fake prototype photos
It seems like every time a new amateur radio transceiver is announced, someone quickly assembles a “leaked” prototype image and publishes it on the web. Here’s the one someone pieced together for the Yaesu FT-818:
Click to enlarge (and see obvious Photoshop chop job)
To be crystal clear: this is not a leaked photo of the Yaesu FT-818. It’s (frankly) a terrible Photoshop job–someone playing with cutting, pasting and resizing bits from other transceivers.
I fully suspect the new FT-818 will not be a dramatic departure from the FT-817 in terms of styling and design. Perhaps it’ll be nearly identical. In fact, radio retailers have been posting the following image on their FT-818 ordering page:
Image taken from GigaParts.
This may simply be a placeholder, or it may be that all of the upgrades are internal and the ‘818 form factor will be identical to the ‘817.
What we do know about the Yaesu FT-818
Rumors of an FT-818 have been floating around the ham radio community for years. No surprise given the extraordinarily long run of the ‘817 series!
We do have concrete details now since ham radio retailers have been given features, specifications and availability dates. It appears the upgrades are iterative–this is not a dramatically re-designed rig.
Here’s what Yaesu has released (I took this from GigaParts, but retailers are posting variations of the same announcement):
The new Yaesu FT-818 incorporates all of the basic and attractive features of the ever-popular FT-817ND while providing upgrades desired by many existing owners.
The FT-818 provides 6W of solid output power with an external DC power source. The supplied Ni-MH battery pack (SBR-32MH) has been upgraded to now provide larger battery capacity – 9.6v/ 1900mAh. The recent launch of several new satellites is a certain indicator that the large global community of satellite enthusiast are going to be very delighted to learn that the FT-818 includes a Built-in TCXO-9 oscillator that gives the FT-818 fantastic frequency stability (±0.5ppm).
The FT-818 includes all the useful functions that are included in the FT-817ND: Dual VFOs; Split-Frequency operation; IF Shift; Clarifier “R.I.T”; IF Noise Blanker; RF Gain and Squelch control; IPO (Intercept Point Optimization); AM Aircraft reception; AM and FM Broadcast reception; VOX; Built-in Electronic Keyer; Adjustable CW Pitch; Automatic Repeater Shift (ARS); Built-in CTCSS Encoder/ Decoders; 208 memory channels with 10 memory groups; two antenna connectors; Automatic Power-Off (APO) and Time-Out-Timer(TOT) functions; and so on.
Increased power output 6W(SSB, CW, FM) 2.0W(AM Carrier) *NEW!
Improved frequency stability ±0.5 ppm : Built-in TCXO-9 *NEW!
Circuit Type: Double-Conversion Superheterodyne (SSB/CW/AM/FM)
Single-Conversion Superheterodyne (WFM)
Modulation Type: A1A(CW), A3E(AM), J3E(LSB,USB), F3E(FM), F1D(PACKET), F2D(PACKET)
RF Power Output : 6 W (SSB/CW/FM), 2 W (AM Carrier) @13.8 V
Memory Channels: 208
Case Size(W x H x D): 135 x 38 x 165 mm (5.31″ x 1.5″ x 6.50″) w/o knob and connector
Weight: 900 g (1.98 lbs) (w/o Battery, Antenna and Microphone)
The retail price is roughly $819 US shipped via GigaParts and $849 via Ham Radio Outlet. I’m sure Universal Radio will post the FT-818 to their site soon as well. At time of posting, I haven’t noticed any retailers outside the US including the FT-818 in their catalog.
I will plan to review the Yaesu FT-818, so bookmark this tag to follow any updates: Yaesu FT-818
Universal Radio is now taking orders for the CommRadio CTX-10 QRP transceiver. The price is $999.99 and the expected shipping date is March 1, 2018. Universal notes that they will not charge customers until the units begin shipping.
Once radios are in production, I plan to review the CTX-10.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, R. Lewis (KF5GV), who writes:
Just noticed on Universal Radio web page the Comm Radio CTX-10 has been approved by the FCC. They are accepting pre-orders on Dec 1. No indication of pricing but hope they announce it soon.
Thanks for the tip!
I’m looking forward to checking out the CommRadio CTX-10. For one thing, it’s in one of my favorite radio categories: portable general coverage QRP transceivers!
Since the CTX-10 receiver is likely an iteration of the excellent CommRadio CR1 series, I expect it’ll perform well on the broadcast bands as well as the ham bands. I look forward to reviewing the CTX-10.
The new CTX-10 prototype from CommRadio at Universal Radio’s 2017 Hamvention booth.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Larry Thompson (WPE8EKM), who writes:
I’ve just finished building a variation of the W6LVP amplified magnetic loop antenna. I was able to purchase the preamplifier, power inserter, and the power supply separately. I then created my own loop antenna using LMR400Max coax and designed my own knock-down PVC support. I wanted something extremely compact and portable to take on sae-kayaking expeditions and to DXpeditions to Africa.
I spent many years teaching in the DRC Congo and hope to return.
I’ve used a 6’ loop, a 9’ loop, a 12’ loop, and an 18’ loop. All do very well, but the 6’ and the 9’ seem to do the best. I’ve been using the 9’ length of coax doubled into two loops and that seems be be doing extremely well.
The signal strength from the W6LVP variation is equal to my Parr EF-SWL End-Fedz 45’ dipole, but the reduced noise level on the bands is amazing. I live in a central city high-rise with no possibility of an exterior antenna. The EF-SWL is strung out a 5th floor window down the side of the building. It performs well, but with a high degree of noise. My QTH is rampant with QRM and RFI noise. The W6LVP amplified magnetic loop has really resolved that in a big way.
The bands are horrible at the moment, so evaluating the loop antenna is difficult. But the cleaner, stronger signals of CHU Canada on 3339 kHz and 7850 kHz, as well as WWV on 10,000 kHz is impressive.
I’m impressed with the reduced noise level on the bands tuning across them, as well as the noise-free signal once you lock into a station. I’ve heard hams on the 17 mb for the very first time.
So far, I’m very impressed with the performance of this amplified magnetic loop.
Very cool Larry! You’ve build a compact loop that can bring the RFI down to a tolerable level–I’d say that’s a complete success. Thanks for sharing!